I said, excuse me Sir, but what did you say?
He repeated himself and asked, do you have a problem with this? I told him that I had orders, and that I had earned the CIB and Purple Heart, and had earned every the right to wear it. He said I don't give a damn about your orders nor what you've earned. Around here, you will not wear it.
At that moment, for the first time in my life, I was
disrespectful to an officer. I responded, Sir, as respectful as a country boy knows how to speak, I will not take it off. I earned it, it was paid for it with blood, and I'll be damned if I'll take it
He looked at me like he had been kicked in the nuts and said,
OK' so that is the way you want it. I'll show you that I can play hard ball too. He dismissed me and I took one step back, rendered a salute and started to leave. He yelled, all you infantry guys are smart ass
and cocky. You're going to learn you don't play with me.
For the next 7-10 days he had me on every stinking, dirty detail
he could find; cleaning his office, the orderly room, barracks, trash detail, and kitchen detail. Finally one day called me in again. You ready to take it off now, he asked?
No Sir, I said. I'm not going to take it off. Very well,
he said. Tomorrow morning you will go to the firing range and police up brass for the basic trainees.
Could it get any more humiliating than this?
A Purple Heart and CIB recipient policing up brass for slick sleeve basic trainees. But sometimes we never know when we are getting a blessing in disguise. As it turned out, it wasn't basic trainees after all.
When I got there, I had never seen such a gathering of sharp
E5s, E6s, E7s, 1st & 2nd Lt's, CIB's, you name it. Turned out, I was there to police up brass for the 173 advanced marksmanship unit. These were the people who represented the US Army in Competition shooting against the Marines, Navy, and Air Force. The best shooters in the army were there. What a surprise. Second day there, a 1st Lt asked me what a CIB Recipient was doing policing up brass. I told him my story. He had recently returned from Vietnam while serving with the 101st Airborne Division, and found this CO's action to be disgusting.
He asked me if I'd like to try out for the rifle team.
I did and I made it. He had orders cut for me the next day, delivered to my CO with instructions to release me immediately. He had a staff car pick me up. I walked in to the CO, saluted him with as much respect as I could muster up and left.
I spent the rest of my tour enjoying a rich man's
sport at the government's expense. Until this day, I don't know why I left the army. Never did hear from that CO again, bit I've often wondered why he didn't stop by to wish me well.
Wayne Stancil - April 27, 2013